A MEETING between the Lord Mayor and a University of York professor has raised the spectre of plastic pollution once again.

Cllr Keith Orrell, who is keen to use his term of office to campaign about a range of environmental issues, this week met Professor Callum Roberts, an expert on marine conservation.

Cllr Orrell said: “Having been interested in sustainability for many years I believed I had some knowledge of the issues, but talking to Callum took my knowledge to a different level.”

On the agenda were Cllr Orrell’s efforts to raise awareness of single-use plastics, as well as the recent Californian project to build a barrage that is intended to recover plastics from the Pacific Ocean.

Lady Mayoress, Judith Orrell, said: “The reduction of plastic use is complex, but Callum’s clear message is that we have to try and reduce the amount we use. I find it very frustrating that so much of our food is packaged in plastic. Why do supermarkets wrap cucumbers and turnips in plastic? It just isn’t necessary.”

Prof Roberts worked on the BBC’s Blue Planet, appearing in the last episode, and was a series scientific adviser to Blue Planet II.

He said: “Blue Planet II was groundbreaking in raising questions about human influence on the environment; most nature programmes concentrate on entertainment and dodge the tough questions.

“It was a pleasure to meet the civic party and I think it is excellent that the Mayor has chosen to make tackling plastic pollution a priority. The best way to do this is to reduce use, reuse plastics, recycle them and replace them with alternative, biodegradable materials.

“I think his idea to make York a refill city, where it is easy to refill water bottles, is a very good start.

“We also need to tackle use of single-use plastics in local government offices and schools.

"Schools use shocking and unconscionable quantities of plastic in their catering operations, which they should seek to replace with environmentally-friendly alternatives. We also need to tackle the amount of plastics entering rivers, looking to ensure recovery points for plastics floating downstream to prevent them entering the sea and snaring marine life.”